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15 women sue award-winning surgeon for botched surgeries

Fifteen women have filed malpractice lawsuits claiming that an Omaha, Nebraska plastic surgeon left them disfigured and in pain.

Dr Gerard Stanley practices at Sculpt, and his website boasts that he was voted Readers’ Choice for ‘Best Cosmetic Surgeon,’ but he is only board certified in family medicine. 

The first woman to come forward was left with a right nipple that was so poorly placed it protrudes out of the top of her bra. 

Trisha Riddle and Roberta Brown-Tipler both believed Dr Stanley was a board certified plastic surgeon. He pushed them into more work than they’d wanted done, and left them with lasting damage.

There has been no mention of Dr Stanley’s suspension. When Daily Mail Online called his office, the receptionist said he was simply ‘away.’ Sculpt’s site still prominently features his bio and accolades for him. 

Trisha Riddle's mid-section after her liposuction procedure.

Trisha Riddle says she was happy with her midsection before (left) Dr Stanley convinced her to let him perform liposuction on her. She says her stomach is less flat since surgery (right) 

Fourteen of the 15 women are being represented in their suits by James Martin Davis. Tom Gleason, a paralegal in Davis’s office, told Daily Mail Online that the clients were all very reluctant to pursue legal action initially.

‘Most of them felt that the results that they were seeing were their faults for having the surgeries in the first place,’ Gleasan said.

‘They didn’t realize that the results they were seeing shouldn’t have happened, until several started going to board cert and were told they needed multiple additional surgeries…to repair the damage of the surgeries they had had at Sculpt.’

Finally, one woman bravely brought her case to Davis. Another woman, Trisha Riddle found that first woman through social media and filed suit too. As their cases gained exposure, more and more women came forward.

‘They had had different types of surgeries, the similarity to all of them is that the procedures were not done properly within the standard of care, and therefore all resulted with different types of complications,’ says Gleason. 

Trisha Riddle wanted a breast lift, but she didn’t trust anyone in her town, Council Bluffs, Iowa to do the surgery. So she searched online for plastic surgeons near Omaha, the closest metropolitan area, and Dr Stanley’s name came up.

When she got to his office, Dr Stanley ‘had all these things hanging up [on the walls], like he’s the best,’ Trisha says. 

The website for Dr Gerard Stanley's practice, Sculpt, details his wins for 'Reader's Choice' for best cosmetic surgeon in Omaha and lists his memberships to various cosmetic sugery societies, none of which are actually boards of certifications

The website for Dr Gerard Stanley’s practice, Sculpt, details his wins for ‘Reader’s Choice’ for best cosmetic surgeon in Omaha and lists his memberships to various cosmetic sugery societies, none of which are actually boards of certifications

‘My stomach was already flat before he ever touched me, but he was like “well we can take more fat there.” He’s so nice and he’s so believable that he talks you into it.’ 

Trisha says Dr Stanley told her, ‘”oh I promise you we’re gonna make you an hourglass shape, you’re going to be so beautiful.”‘

 It was like he just cut around my nipple and sewed it back together.

Trisha Riddle, after a breast augmentation by Dr Stanley 

He convinced her to have liposuction, she says, and then use fat removed from her stomach to fill out her breasts. This is not an uncommon procedure, usually used for women who want only minor changes to their breasts. 

After the surgery, Trisha didn’t feel beautiful. She says her stomach was flatter before the surgery, and that the breast ‘augmentation’ only made matters worse. ‘It was like he just cut around my nipple and sewed it back together,’ she says.  

When Trisha went back to Dr Stanley for a follow-up appointment she told him she wasn’t happy with the results of the procedures. 

‘He totally ruined my body, but the part that hurt the most was that he totally ignored it and didn’t offer to do anything for me,’ she says. 

Roberta Brown-Tipler shows KETV Omaha one of the hard nodules left on her hips after Dr Stanley performed a cosmetic surgery on her

Roberta Brown-Tipler shows KETV Omaha one of the hard nodules left on her hips after Dr Stanley performed a cosmetic surgery on her

After a tummy tuck from Dr Stanley, Roberta felt like she'd been 'cut in half' and was left with unsightly scarring on her hips

After a tummy tuck from Dr Stanley, Roberta felt like she’d been ‘cut in half’ and was left with unsightly scarring on her hips

Roberta is afraid to have another plastic surgery to fix the damage Dr Stanley did to her body

Roberta is afraid to have another plastic surgery to fix the damage Dr Stanley did to her body

Roberta's belly button is now off center because of her botched tummy tuck 

Roberta’s belly button is now off center because of her botched tummy tuck 

Dr Stanley told her to keep massaging her breasts and the lumps would go away, but now Trisha knows that the lumps are permanent, and will always cause her mammogram results to appear abnormal. 

‘He failed to tell me that. It’s pretty important that a woman know that,’ she says. 

Trisha remembers seeing herself in the mirror after the surgeries and crying. Upset and sure that this couldn’t be a normal outcome, she went looking for reviews of Dr Stanley and found a woman with similar complaints to hers. 

Trisha contacted the woman through social media, and found out that she had filed a lawsuit against Dr Stanley. So she decided to file her own. 

Now, a total of 15 women have filed medical malpractice suits against Dr Stanley. 

Sculpt told Daily Mail Online that Dr Stanley was away from the office, and said to call his lawyer, Thomas Shomaker. 

Shomaker says that these cases all arose from a disgruntled former Sculpt employee, who, he claims, was fired for stealing money from the practice. 

He says that Dr Stanley had ‘additional training in cosmetic surgery and is legally allowed to do it,’ even though he’s only board certified for practicing family medicine. 

Do your homework before choosing a cosmetic surgeon 

Doctors don’t have to board certified in plastic or cosmetic surgery to perform procedures, but make sure yours is.

You can use online resources like the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)’s Certification Matters database to see what certifications a doctor has. 

You can also call the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ask them if a doctor is certified with them. 

Even if a doctor is certified, he or she may still have a bad history. You can check with your state to see if any lawsuits have been filed against him or her. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgery suggests asking a surgeon ten questions before deciding they’re the right person to do your procedure:

  • Ask if your plastic surgeon is board certified
  • Ask if your plastic surgeon has operating privileges at a hospital
  •  Ask if surgery is done in an accredited ambulatory facility, capable of responding to medical emergencies and equipped with life support
  •  Ask about your surgeon’s experience
  • Ask if you can view before and after photographs
  •  Ask about risks and complications
  •  Ask if the surgeon uses a certified anesthetist
  • Ask about your recovery
  • Ask for a second opinion
  •  Ask real people

Anyone with a license to practice medicine is, in fact, legally allowed to perform surgery, even if they have not done a residency in that specialty.

‘It’s a distinction lost on a lot of people, it certainly was on me,’ Shomaker says. 

The attorney says that Dr Stanley has never claimed that he is a board certified cosmetic surgeon, and ‘if anyone says that he told them that, he denies it.’ 

Shomaker sees the outcomes of surgeries like Trisha’s as subjective.

‘These cosmetic surgeries, you put it in a big bag and it’s basically changing someone’s appearance, hopefully for the better. But, [my wife] Darling, and I go walking around New York and go “oh boy, look at how much work they’ve had done..that guy’s face is stretched like an orange peel,”‘ he says. 

Shomaker claims that some of the women involved in the lawsuits submitted pictures to Dr Stanley as ‘satisfied customers,’ but couldn’t say which ones because all he has seen are ‘pictures of body parts.’ 

Admittedly, ‘it sounds pretty good, 15 women, that’s what you’re splashing now,’ Shomaker says. But the cases are in the discovery stages, and he’s confident that once they have all the information, he and his client will ‘prevail.’ 

When Dr Stanley showed Trisha her before and after pictures she said she saw no difference, at least not a positive one. 

As part of the process of building her case, she had to get a second opinion on Dr Stanley’s work. 

Trisha says that when her breasts were examined, ‘they couldn’t put me on their computer imaging because my tits were too saggy.’ 

She found that it would cost $20,000 to undo the damage Dr Stanley’s work had inflicted. 

‘I’m a single mom, I don’t have money,’ Trisha says. 

She’s just glad it wasn’t worse. ‘I feel really bad for the girls that can’t be fixed, that have permanent nerve damage,’ she says. ‘He’s just so deceiving.’ 

Roberta Brown-Tipler is afraid to even try to get reconstructive surgery. She says she woke up from what Dr Stanley told her would be ‘non-invasive’ liposuction and tummy tuck procedures in excruciating pain. 

Another woman who spoke to KETV Omaha is suing Dr Stanley because she was left with horrible scarring after he performed an arm lift on her

Another woman who spoke to KETV Omaha is suing Dr Stanley because she was left with horrible scarring after he performed an arm lift on her

‘There was guaze and tape and blood everywhere,’ she says, ‘it basically looked like he cut me in half.’ 

Roberta, 35, had had two C-sections and wanted to improve the tightness of the skin on her stomach. 

Now, she has scars on her stomach and back, her belly button is off-center, and she has two ‘dog ears’ – tennis ball-sized nodules on either side of her hips.

Roberta says she tried to do her research. She read reviews of Dr Stanley, and even asked him if he was board certified. He reassured her that he’d been trained, and did this all the time. 

Just like Trisha, she says that Dr Stanley was ‘charming and really manipulative,’ and he told her, too, ‘”you’ll have this hour glass figure, I’m going to sculpt you.”‘  

After the surgery, Roberta remembers her incisions burning, and being warm to the touch (both common signs of infection). She was in immense pain and called Dr Stanley. 

‘He told me that this is just a ‘”fun” surgery, that it wasn’t supposed to be anything serious,’ Roberta says. Dr Stanley told her to take some ibuprofen and that she could go back to work. At a follow-up appointment, Dr Stanley told her that she could just pull the stitch out of the still slightly open incision. Then he put a band-aid on it and sent her home. 

 I’m scared to get a real tummy tuck. Is someone else going to butcher me again, am I going to make it out?

Roberta Brown-Tipler, woman filing lawsuit against Dr Stanley

While she was still recovering from the procedures, Roberta says a friend considered going to Dr Stanley too, but asked her physician about him. The physician warned her friend to stay away, and that Dr Stanley was not a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Now that she’s healed, Roberta still has many scars, that sometimes get so irritated she has to take off her bra. ‘I don’t know if there’s nerve damage or what,’ she says. 

Even if she gets a settlement from the malpractice suit, Roberta may not be willing to go under the knife again. 

‘I’m scared to get a real tummy tuck. Is someone else going to butcher me again, am I going to make it out?’ she asks.   

‘Patients that feel they’ve been harmed can certainly seek legal recourse,’ says Dr Debra Johnson, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), ‘but at that point the damage has been done. that’s why we feel it’s really important for patients to do their homework.’ 

She advises people considering any cosmetic procedures to be wary of advertisements, because many states have no regulations on what board certifications plastic surgeons claim. 

‘Patients can be fooled by flashy websites,’ she says. ‘People can market themselves to look really intriguing, but you have to ask questions about whether they’re trained in the procedures they’re wanting to do.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk